Shenanigans: News, Gadgets, Thoreau, Pratchett, and Habaneros

Bless me Father, (Mother? Microsoft? Apple? WordPress?)… it has been four days since my last confession…


The Grammies have replaced the Egyptian political crisis as the top news story on the top network news sites. NPR & the BBC seem to have their priorities straight. Although she won several honors, Lady Gaga lost out on Best Album. Justin Bieber lost too. I am not sad about this, on either count. And it remains to be seen exactly what the Egyptian people have won…

Chris Lee, Carlina White, and Patricia Lloyd have faded completely from the public eye. Bresenia Flores was only ever news to the most assiduous of news junkies. If you don’t know who she is—look her up—because you should! Gabrielle Giffords remains secluded in a Houston rehab, her husband, Mark Kelley, is going to space in April. I have mixed emotions about Captain Kelley’s choice.

Arizona is considering a law that will allow it to usurp Federal authority. Basically, it states that if Arizona doesn’t like a Federal law, it can simply ignore it. Alrighty then, ‘cause that will work out for them. And Virginia lawmakers are considering a law that would allow the state to create its own currency… Really.

I’ve reread Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather in the past week. A great read—I will repost a review/annotation I wrote some years ago, as soon as I find it. I also watched the movie – streaming video from Netflix – also highly recommended (both the movie and Netflix). For those of you who may not know who Terry Pratchett is, the most apt description I’ve heard is, “his writing is a cross between Tolkien and Monty Python.” Yeah, that about says it.

My Kindle arrived (thank you, Nick!), and after a busy weekend visit with my oldest son Nick, I settled into to learn how it worked. So far, I can download and read books. No highlighting, listening to music, or posting quotes to Facebook or Twitter; but these are all possibilities.  Work published prior to 1923 can be downloaded for free, so I read Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think is right.

Yeah. An essay that, along with Emerson’s American Scholar and Self Reliance, changed my world view. Or rather gave me a world view.

I am currently reading Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Rifles. Historical fiction. Napoleonic Wars. This is not something I would have usually picked for myself. The BBC’s series of movies were recommended to me by one of my teachers. Again Netflix, although not streaming. Sean Bean. John Tams. Good stuff. I am on episode six of sixteen. And book one. Cornwell is an engaging writer; it remains to be seen if he will hold my attention through 16 books.

The Kindle is an interesting gadget. I like having the ability to adjust the font size. As I become tired, and as natural light fades into soft energy efficient fluorescence, it becomes necessary to increase font size. In a paperback, it would mean stop reading now. The increased font size, much to my surprise, slowed my reading down. I only read a little over 7 chapters in 3 hours. I think part of this slow down was my fascination with the technology as well (Can I do this? Will it do that?).

The weekend wouldn’t have been complete without shenanigans. It was Ian’s turn. With Nick here from Boston, Ian decided to cook breakfast. He chose breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs. For flavor, he added habaneros; two, not so finely chopped, habaneros to four eggs. A dish that turned out to be too…spicy…for the parrots. There was sweating, choking, crying. There was the terrified anticipation of the peppers making their way through the digestive system. The inevitable posts on Facebook and snide responses about the transition from human body to frightening flamethrower. A sudden fear of flying (Nick returned to Boston, via Jetblue, yesterday afternoon).  To be fair, Ian did show me his small plate of chopped pepper and asked, “Will this be enough?”

I answered, “Um, more than enough.” He had clearly glossed the italics. I think the episode may have given my youngest son a new world view…

And now it’s Monday and I have query letters and resumes to review. More comedy awaits.